Tour winner Contador free to race says Spanish Federation
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tour winner Contador free to race says Spanish Federation

by Samuel Morrison at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Despite claims of Clenbuterol doping, Spanish Federation says Alberto Contador may race

Spaniard Alberto Contador is free to race, says the Spanish federation, despite a positive anti-doping control from this year's Tour de France.

"We do not have any official notification from the International Cycling Union (UCI) and therefore, Contador has an active licence and can compete", Juan Carlos Castaño, president of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), told Spain's Diario Público newspaper.

"The UCI has not yet notified us that we need to suspend his license, so there would be legal implications should he race in Oviedo."

Organisers of the Oviedo criterium in northern Spain hoped to have the three-time Tour de France winner at its unofficial race on Saturday. However, team Astana's Contador faces a possible suspension due to a doping positive for Clenbuterol on July 21. The UCI is reviewing his urine samples from the Tour de France to determine if, as Contador says, the Clenbuterol came from contaminated Spanish meat.

Contador announced the positive control on September 30, two months after he won the Tour de France 39 seconds ahead of Luxembourg's Andy Schleck. The UCI announced that same day that it provisionally suspended him from racing while it investigates his case.

"On Monday," said Castaño, "we are going to request that the UCI that clarify this, that they tell us how we should act and if he really is suspended."

UCI President Pat McQuaid said on Tuesday, though, that the clarification might take time.

"We can't speed the process up. The scientific evaluation is still going on, there is nothing you can rush. We just have to wait until we can sit down together and decide what the next step is," McQuaid told the Associated Press.

"It's quite complicated. We are waiting for the results to come back and I don't know how long it's going to take. In fairness to Contador, in fairness to the sport, in fairness to the Tour de France, we need to go into the details to make sure the decision that will be taken is the right one."

Contador is uncertain of his future. He has said both that he may quit cycling regardless what the results show and that he is optimistic. His mother, Paqui Velasco, said yesterday that he is leaning more towards quitting.

"He says: 'I'm thinking about quitting cycling when all of this ends. It's not worth it,'" Velasco told the Associated Press. "What will he do? He doesn't know."

He said that he knows that the drug came from contaminated meat. Clenbuterol helps produce lean meat in animals, but the European Union banned its use in 1996. The European Union controlled 83,203 animal samples in Europe – 19,431 samples from Spain – between 2008 and 2009. Only one sample was contaminated, and it was not from Spain.

For athletes, Clenbuterol helps breathing and aids in body toning, and is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) at any limit. Contador's urine sample contained 50 picograms of the substance.


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